Che: A Revolutionary Life HC
Publisher: Penguin Press
Release Date: November 13, 2018
Price: $35.00
Creator(s): Jon Lee Anderson & José Hernández
Format: 432 pgs., Full-Color, 6.8" x 9", Hardcover
ISBN: 9-7807-3522-1772
Age Rating: N/A
ICv2 Rating: 5 Stars out of 5

Che Guevara was a controversial character during his lifetime, and continues to be one, over 50 years after his death.  This book is the first simple, readable graphic examination of him as a person as well as a political figure.  That it is in the form of a very large graphic work is an amazing feat, because it becomes perhaps an improvement on Jon Anderson’s prose version from 2010, itself highly regarded as a biography.

The difference is largely the work of artist José Hernández. In this volume, he gives realism to everything from the mundane aspects of the lives of Guevara’s family to the brutal violence that occurred on the battlefields in which he fought as a guerilla.

Was Guevara a wonderful person?  No, and this book examines his many flaws, as well.  His life as a revolutionary was over the top even for Castro, and his assumption that imposed socialist revolution was the only solution for every wrong in the world is what led to his failures and eventually to his death.  He made choices about family life that hurt many around him.  This book is honest about those things, but the reader will come to understand Guevara better as more than just a picture on a t-shirt.

The book also criticizes the foreign policies of both the U.S. and the Soviet Union, and points out the real source of the term "banana republic" as it applied to countries in Central and South America.  Major American officials really shouldn’t direct politics based on the profits of a fruit company, but that seems to have happened.

While readable by teens, the primary audience of the book is adults, but this book belongs in every library collection and on the shelves of any store with an audience for serious graphic non-fiction.

--Nick Smith: Library Technician, Community Services, for the Pasadena Public Library in California.